Tag Archives: John Eldredge

Love that comes easy

I found this from a blog post I wrote in 2008 {click here}.

I and my Third-Thursday-besties were reading and writing our thoughts from A Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge.

“Once upon a time were Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the kind of home we’ve been looking for all our life” (page 74, The Sacred Romance).

Sometimes it happens, it may be fleeting, but occasionally you get to experience it: rich moments of holy laughter with family, a good meal shared in love while kind memories flow and encouraging words of appreciation are being expressed. And when it happens, you know you are on holy ground. You know you are experiencing something of the divine. You understand the table of fellowship in heaven.

I had one such evening last night. It was the first time we had gathered the whole family from all our travels to celebrate Mother’s Day and the birthdays of my two eldest daughters, Tara and Stephanie. And time and space and life being what it is, you always hope everyone can come in and shed the stress and distractions and enjoy the company, but we are no different than other families. It does not always happen that way. But last night I could sense the joy of the Trinity, the sense of “we are complete,” and “we are one.” I breathe it in with deep appreciation, even now.

Today’s thought:  Loving these people comes naturally, from a fulll heart, because they are of me, in my likeness.  I absolutely have love-filled thoughts of them everyday, all day long.

And because I am the matriarch of this family, because I actually birthed these incredible human beings, the joy-seed of my love with Dave, I can understand better the heart of God toward us. Because, omygoodness, my heart toward my children and their children is so full of love and goodness and purity and mercy. I haven’t done it all right or even very well (which God of course, has), but whether they have yet realized it or not: my kids can trust my heart towards them. I will always love them. I will always think the best of them. I will always be their biggest fan. They should never have to fear me or rejection from me. So why do I with my Romancer?

“Once upon a time we lived in a garden; we lived in the place for which we were made. There were no Arrows, only beauty. Our relationships weren’t tainted with fear, guardedness, manipulation, quid pro quo. Our work was rewarding, we received more than we gave…We were made for the garden, but now there is affliction also, and that is because we live East of Eden. The Arrows seem the truest part of life, but they are not.”

And in the spring when I put my hands into the soil and help the chubby fingers of grandsons push seed into the ground, it is almost like I can hear God calling me like He once called Adam, “Jeanie, Jeanie, where are you?” He knows where I am, but He asks so that I’ll take stock at where I have gone, to make sure I know where I am…

Today I am adding:  I love that time after time, year after year, disaster after disappointment, He keeps watching for the real me, keeps prompting me to look for the me I was created to be, regardless of how much I try to hide from the very One who heals…amazing Love.

Isn’t the great paradox that “we long to be known and we fear it like nothing else“? We believe things about ourselves that aren’t true (Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will really hurt me) and we run from the Pursuer thinking He believes those things are true, too. Yet, His own Word calls us: “…the Holy…the Redeemed…the Sought-after…”

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us…” (1 John 4.10).

I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. Here I am, Lord

Just like with the family God has given me.  I watch over them with complete rapture and admiration, so unique and treasured they are to me, as does Father-God with me.  Still figuring it all out, that depth of amazing Love towards meMe. ???

John Eldredge

I REALLY like him.  I use and regularly share The Daily Prayer with friends and family and young women I disciple.  I haven’t read everything he writes, but Walking with God revolutionized me…after The Sacred Romance did (my dad requested I read a copy he’d underlined thoughts in, such treasure!)…after The Journey of Desire did a number of years earlier.  :)

The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We Always Dreamed of The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God

I did a whole Sacred Romance thing with my friends on this very blog.

Walking with God: Talk to Him. Hear from Him. Really.

And certainly have mentioned Walking with God …a little.

Then, this!

I hadn’t been to his site for awhile, but the other day I went to catch up and found that he’d posted an entry on his blog on December 26, 2011 called “I am Bethlehem.”  {See it here}

And I had, if you will recall, posted an entry in December called “I am the Nativity.”  {see it here}

I am smiling as if something wonderful just happened (silly, I know).  I want to say something like “John Eldredge and I think alike,” as if!  But it is just one of those things.  Sorta similar, but not.  One written by some one who is read by millions and one who is read by 7 or 8 on a good day.  *insert self-deprecating laugh

I re-read the post I did and I certainly recognized my words are so influenced by his writings.  What I wrote just came tumbling from my heart in the early dark hours of a winter morning.  But they are also words born of the people, speakers and authors whose revelations have pierced my very soul, line upon line, precept upon precept.  And John Eldredge is way up there on my favs list as an author!  So what felt so powerful and unique to me that day, and for days following, was merely a summary of years of the walk with God and the voices which have spoken in to and impacted my life.

His post was classic John Eldredge.  Mine was a tumbling sensory something-or-another.  They were different.  Yet both inspired by fresh of understanding during the Christmas season of 2011.

And I just kind of think it is cool because I am such a fan.  And I feel kind of validated in a very silly way.  Because God will reveal Himself to us: wildly famous writer, or not so much.  So we shouldn’t be surprised when He does.   But can I just {very indulgently} say I am kind of giddy that God did that?

That’s all.  Just smiling because the same God that spoke to John Eldredge spoke to me.  And to you, too.  You know it is true!

Walking with God

OK-just because he is one of the best-loved and most prolific writers in Christendom, and just because The Journey of Desire  was my favorite book read in 2004 and just because I spent 6 months reading and writing and loving The Sacred Romance  and experiencing an amazing “summer of love” because of it and my friends and I blogged about it all year this year – don’t think that authomatically makes me some kind of big John Eldredge fan.  Because I am not an Eldredge groupie.  Or maybe I wasn’t.

But I have just finished reading (2 weeks ago) the BEST book (it WILL be my “book of the year”) and it just happens to be by John Eldredge.  And I seriously wish some one else, everyone else, would read it, too, and get it and get into conversation with me about it. 

Walking with God – Talk to Him.  Hear from Him.  Really.   That is the name of the book.  I picked it up from the library on a whim, thinking I’d browse through quickly because there was no time to read it.  But the day I got started, I was in all the way.  I spent a week reading it (was the bronchitis a gift??), took 27 pages of handwritten notes and have now requested it for Christmas, because, I plan to read it again and write in it and underline and highlight and learn some more.

Here is how it is described on the jacket: 

“This is a series of stories of what it looks like to walk with God, over the course of about a year.”

“So begins a remarkable narrative of one man’s journey learning to hear the voice of God. In Walking wtih God by John Eldredge, the details are intimate and personal. The invitation is for us all. What if we could hear from God . . . often? What difference would it make?

All day long we are making choices. It adds up to an enormous amount of decisions in a lifetime. How do we know what to do?  We have two options.  We can trudge through on our own, doing our best to figure it all out.

Or, we can walk with God. As in, learn to hear his voice. Really. We can live life with God. He offers to speak to us and guide us. Every day. It is an incredible offer. To accept that offer is to enter into an adventure filled with joy and risk, transformation and breakthrough. And more clarity than we ever thought possible.”

John Eldredge basically shares his personal journaling with us, the things he faces and considers and learns throughout the course of a year.  Thus, no chapters or formulaic divisions.  What he learns about intimacy with God or joy and how essential it is, the spiritual warfare in which he engages, the agreements he breaks with the enemy and the growth in prayer and understanding of the power of the completed work of Jesus on the cross and the deliverance available through the blood of Jesus – these are not segregated, sectioned off revelations, but the interweaving of them throughout the course of the year.  Here a little, there a little, as God taught Him, interacted with him, talked to him.  Really.

This is the kind of book every parent should leave behind for their children: the record of the faithfulness of the hand of God in our lives in the day in and the day out.  Here is what I learned, no-am still learning.  Here is what God did on this day.  Here is the battle I repeatedly face.  Here is how I am overcoming.  John Eldredge opened the pages of his journal and shared these things in this book.  And even told how he is instilling them in his sons, even now.

The book: It’s conversational.  It’s powerful.  I felt like I was sitting there talking to the author directly.  For me, it was timely and insightful on being whole and holy, and the importance of joy.  It reminded me to recognize the enemy’s work against me and how I have made subtle agreements with the enemy that have given him a foothold in my life, but also gave me the courage, the prayers and the understanding to break those things, resist the devil and watch him flee!  It exposed busyness again, a recurring struggle for me, and awakened me to ways the enemy has kept me in bondage, but how I do not have to stay there.  Period. 

Really good read.  Really can’t wait to tear into my own copy again.  Really loving what I learned about prayer and the new power in my personal prayer life.  See http://www.walkingwithgod.net/pdf/DailyPrayer.pdf to get you started.

Hearing from Him so much more…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Increase the conversation with the God of the universe who does actually involve Himself in what concerns me.

Amy Jo Journeying Toward Heaven on the Sacred Romance

Yikeronis!  In April, four friends: Heather, Candi, Amy Jo and me, set out to read and write our responses to the now-classic The Sacred Romance-Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge.  We were going great guns for a time, but life and stuff jumped right in front of our momentum and we have never quite finished…yet.  I published my thoughts to Chapter 12 about 2 months ago (see here).  There is really just Chapter 12 and the epilogue left (wow!  I LOVED the epilogue!), but, by golly, we are GOING to finish!   Hopefully before the holidays…

Chapter Twelve: Coming Home

From the infamous, crazy artistic, wildly creative and sensitive Amy Jo:

“Our hearts cannot live without hope… Our courage for the journey so often falters because we’ve lost our hope of heaven-the consummation of our Love Story.” (p. 178)

 “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” (C.S. Lewis, p. 180)

Ah… temporal ennui… my old “friend,” my frequent companion, my gift, my curse.

I, as Jeanie did, grew up with a heaven-focused crowd. I even had a lapel pin on the corkboard in my childhood bedroom that read “Perhaps Today.” Fittingly, it helped hold up a little poster that read (and yes, I’m typing this from memory):

“This world is not my home, although it seems to be. My home is with my God, in the place He’s made for me. He’s coming back real soon-the signs are very clear. So when the trumpet sounds, I’ll be out of here!”

Cute, huh? I liked it. But there is always the danger of being “so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” This is a balance I struggle with because (contrary to popular belief) I do NOT always love life. I wrestle OFTEN with my “calling,” whatever that may be. I wonder ALWAYS what I’m supposed to be doing with my time here on earth. I do know however, that I am to love God and love people, using the gifts and personality God was pleased to give me. Here, let me quote for you the personal “Mission Statement” I wrote for myself in 2007:

“I want my life to be characterized-most of all-by love for God and love for people. Therefore I will seek to do so in as many ways as I can imagine and am able. Never will I allow myself to become embittered by what sorrows and perceived injustices I may experience in my journey through life. I vow to strive always to see, imitate, manufacture, and praise God for beauty. I always want to confidently protect and promote truth and light. I want to be proud of how I conduct myself in any given situation. When others spend time with me, I want them to leave feeling refreshed, invigorated, inspired, loved, and valued. I want to bring out the best in those around me. When God looks at me, I want Him to say, “She is mine. She knows me and loves me. I am pleased by her.”

The authors of The Sacred Romance call us to dream of heaven, imagining wildly about what heaven will offer our heart of hearts-beyond the clouds, fat white cherubs, harps, and boringness that has become so cliché in our culture. “If faith and love hang on hope, if a life without hope is as Paul says ‘to be pitied’ (1 Cor. 15:19), then shouldn’t we devote ourselves to recovering a vision for the end of our story in as vivid colors as our imagination can conceive?” (p.180)  The authors urge us to consider these in our imaginings: intimacy, beauty, adventure, and arrival. I will highlight my favorite parts of each section.

On Intimacy:There we shall receive our new name, known only to our Lover, which He shall give to us on a white stone (Rev. 2.17)… To tell the name is to seal the success-to say, ‘In thee also I am well pleased.” (p.183) How my heart longs to hear these words from my God! (See above Mission Statement.)

On Beauty: “So it goes with all things on earth: The beauty that so captures our heart and is so fleeting draws us toward the eternal reality.” (p.186) (See above Mission Statement.)

On Adventure: “We will worship God in heaven, meaning all of life will finally be worship, not round after round of ‘Amazing Grace’.” (p. 188) YAY! “Part of the adventure will be to explore the wonders of the new heaven and new earth, the most breathtaking of which will be God Himself. We will have all eternity to explore the mysteries of God, and not just explore, but celebrate and share with one another.” (p. 189)

On Arrival: “One day soon we will round a bend in the road and our dreams will come true. We really will live happily ever after. The long years in exile will be swept away in the joyful tears of our arrival home. Every day when we rise, we can tell ourselves, My journey today will bring me closer to home; it may be just around the bend. All we long for we shall have; all we long to be, we will be. All that has hurt us so deeply-the dragons and nits, the Arrows and our false lovers, and Satan himself-they will all be swept away. And then real life begins.” (p.193)

In closing my review of this chapter on heaven, I’d like to just put out a challenge to those of you who love music-try making a “Heaven Playlist” on your ipod or computer… or even just using pen and paper. There are SO many songs out there referencing heaven; so many songs out there produced out of-I am convinced-the calling of the Sacred Romance. Perhaps in creating / listening to your “Heaven Playlist” you will hear the call of our Romancer-and just MAYBE you will begin to break free from our “modern” boring ideas of heaven.  Here are a few I’d recommend to get you started:

  • “What Do I Know?” by Sara Groves, from Conversations
  • “My Deliverer” and “That Where I Am, There You…” by Rich Mullins, from The Jesus Record
  • “I Can Hear the Angels Singing” by David Crowder Band, from B Collision
  • “The Third Heaven” by Carmen, from Addicted to Jesus
  • “Un Lugar Celestial” (A Heavenly Place) by Jaci Velasquez, from Heavenly Place

Thanks, Amy Jo.  LOVE you!…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Learn to be more imaginative about heaven.  I CAN only imagine…

pictured: Amy Jo created the prayer and worship interactives for Heaven Fest this past summer.

Chapter 12: No Place Like Home – Just Jeanie today…

These are the observations both deep and lighthearted from The Sacred Romance – Drawing Closer to the Heart of God (by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge) among a few friends.   We are drawing to a close here as we begin to think towards heaven – a very important part of the story God is writing for us.   We hope you’ll let us know what you are thinking, too…

Posts by the other book-bloggers to follow.

Chapter Twelve: Coming Home


Jeanie on Chapter 12:   Besides the Epilogue, this is it-the final chapter in this now-classic book by John Eldredge and Brent Curtis.   I was sort of resisting this chapter for two reasons.   One,  the book  has been so impactful that I don’t want it to end, and two, I knew we were going to focus on heaven.

Page 179: “If…we believe that this life is our best shot at happiness, if this is as good as it gets, we will live as desperate, demanding and eventually   despairing men and women.   We will place on this world a burden it was never intended to bear…”

You may be wondering, What?   A Christian who doesn’t want to talk about heaven?   Well, kind of.   It isn’t that I don’t want to or that I don’t hope to go there someday.   But  I grew up in Christianity that seemed very focused on escape – let’s get out of here and get to heaven as quickly as we can, seemed the metality.   People would gut-sing songs with lyrics like “This old life is filled trouble…trials and sorrow fill the ‘morrow, but someday soon, I’ll take my flight…some morning I will leave it all behind.”   They would belt out these words as if they were hoping God would just transport them right to heaven if they sang loud enough.   Yes, I grew up among Chrsitians who lived their lives in a beam-me-up-God, PLEASE! metality.

So, I have swung the direction of figuring out how to live in the here and now as a Christian.   I think there is a good scriptural basis for this, “On earth, as it is in heaven.”   The Word of God as a whole is filled with wisdom to get us through this life.

But I also know I have discounted, at times, the beauty of what awaits.   I have wondered about heaven.   Fully aware that it is not going to be a bunch of little cherubs on clouds with harps popping grapes into their mouths, I still have wondered: what will it be?   And it has been hard to fathom, for I am very practical and boxed in and linear at times.   I admit I have read John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ (The Book of the Revelation) and quickly glossed over his attempts to describe the indescribable.   In so doing, I know I have missed what may be.

Quoting C.S. Lewis on page 180, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Though it is full of theological inconsistencies and truly ‘just a story,’ the movie “What Dreams May Come”  was one person’s attempt to comprehend what might be.   The tag “After life there is more.   The end is just the beginning” certainly capsulizes what most of us believe.   In the movie, the man dies and finds out there is a heaven that was more than he could have imagined.   Surprisingly, for a movie, it was beautiful and fantastical and colorful.   How do you communicate that?

Eugene Peterson, the  interpreter of The Message, piqued my interest in introducing Revelation:

“The Bible ends with a flourish: vision and song, doom and deliverance, terror and triumph.   the rush of color and sound, image and energy leaves us reeling…we find ourselves in the multidimensional act of Christian worship…John’s Revelation is not easy reading,   Besides being a pastor, John is a poet, fond of metaphor and symbol, image and allusion, passionate in his desire to bring us into the presence of Jesus believing and adoring…the demands he makes on our intelligence and imagination are well-rewarded…for our worship of God {when we receive the Revelation] will almost certainly deepen in in urgency and joy.”

So, in The Sacred Romance, we arrive at the topic of heaven and though I’ve sometimes neglected it, I am open.   Let’s talk heaven.

Quoting Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft from Everything You Wanted to Know about Heaven (pages 180-181):   “Our pictures of heaven simply do not move us; they are not moving pictures…Our pictures of Heaven are dull, platitudinous and syrupy; therefore, so is our faith, our hope, and our love of Heaven…Dullness, not doubt, is the strongest enemy of of faith…”

The author, in reflecting on 1 Cor. 2.9 (“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him”) reminds us “we cannot outdream God.”

He goes on to quote theologians and philosophers trying to make sense of what we cannot fully understand, like John the revelator, who tried to explain in words what we don’t yet have words for, “…it was like jasper…the streets were like…glass like crystal…” etc.

Reading these things, I could see how lifeless my imagination of a future with God, and seeing Him and being like Him will be.   I have read of the worship of heaven and, with my great love of worship have just envisioned myself some where in the crowd, far away from Him, unnoticed.   I have secretly wondered how that could be heaven.

But as I pondered the possibilities, after reading this chapter, it seemed God gave me a glimpse: me, as a 10-year old girl on a tire swing, just having moved “far away” from family and friends and church and all I had ever known, but in those lonely times, with lush, green Iowa grass beneath my feet and a corn field and streams round about, I would sing the songs of heaven – sing to Father.   The melodies came easily and His Presence soothed my fears and lonliness and it was just Him and me.   God reminded me that He has already been giving me glimpses to keep me on the path.   I am pretty sure in heaven, I will have my own tire swing on grassy meadows and there’ll be no crowds between us….

What can you tell me about heaven?   I want to know more…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: Today I am closer than yesterday to where “real life begins.”